Education must receive the top priority in the larger scheme of a nation’s development. Many argue that education has always been given special importance. But then, there has to be some sense of stability in the system to ensure that what we give to our children is not only relevant but is also well-researched and time-specific. Education is looking ahead, not backwards.
Politics and education can never go hand in hand, in the sense that politicians often must, unfortunately, rely and depend on support groups. RCSC’s organisational development exercise to merge Royal Education Council with the Ministry of Education (MoE) has looked at financial benefits. But when it comes to education of our children, especially when we are talking about space science and major reforms in the education system itself, these changes and arrangements do not fall in the right place.
The Royal Education Council had to go through a lot of push and pull before it became the Royal Education Council. It had to, and rightly, be an independent body of experts to design curriculum from PP to 12, in the fast-changing circumstances. But we messed with its mandate. We are now testing a baccalaureate system of our own, which will be replicated in many schools. This will demand a strong and capable group of curriculum designers.
The fact is that there are many changes happening, but no visible focus in the system.
REC, wherever it is placed, must be independent. Disturbances, internally and externally, will be detrimental, not just to the system of the organisation’s work but they also will have long-term impact on the standards of Bhutanese education.
The employees of REC are professionally trained in their job—to design curriculum relevant to the needs of the citizens and the nation. Any disturbance in the system will have an untold impact on children and the nation’s bigger objectives. That’s why, even as REC is a department under the Ministry of Education, it must be given full autonomy.
RCSC must ensure this on the grounds of OD exercise that it carried out and prove that such interventions are indeed critically necessary. What a monumental waste it would be otherwise!
Accepting that all the changes have happened already, the only option left for us is to ensure that we do not have to begin from zero up again. REC is a professional department now; let it function independently. It is, and has to be always, a think tank for the country’s education development and research. Do not mess their vision and missions up.
Change has come unavoidably but we can still pave the way forward so that our education system remains ever-ready to tackle the challenges of the future. This can only happen by giving respect and independence to the experts who are well-trained and are available to chart the future of Bhutan’s education.